Visualise was set up in 1987 by families of pupils attending the Royal Blind School at Canaan Lane. With little to no provision for students after the age of 18, families took the situation into their own hands and Visualise was born.
With an initial focus on supporting young adults with visual impairment and other complex needs, Visualise opened its first housing support service in the Newington area of Edinburgh in 1992. As the 1990s progressed, Visualise set up its first Day Centre at Norton Park in Leith, alongside its Head Office.
The early 21st century found that existing provision was no longer fit for purpose and two housing support services were set up in the Restalrig area, with a third added in Leith in 2007. There was further expansion in 2014, when our day centre in Musselburgh was opened, expanding our services into East Lothian for the first time. This was also the point at which the charity decided to use its considerable expertise to diversify away from visual impairment, with a focus instead on supporting any individual with a disability to live the life they choose.
In recent years, we have opened two new housing support services – one in Leith and one in Portobello – and have increased the number of people we support who live in their own home and access community resources. However, at all times we have worked hard to maintain our small, personalised nature.
Visualise has a proud history of being family-led, with a family member operating as Director until 2013 and family members continuing as trustees. We are proud of the strong links we have with the people we support and their loved ones. We feel this is what makes our organisation really stand out – we are mindful that Visualise came from families, for families. This gives us a phenomenal foundation on which to base our organisation.
Visualise works with adults who have complex support needs because of sensory impairment, learning or physical disability or deaf-blindness. Our overall aim is to assist people to fulfil their physical, intellectual, emotional and social potential and enjoy life to the full.
Housing Support – Visualise manages five houses and flats in Edinburgh, where the people we support are assisted to maintain their own tenancies. Usually, 2-3 people live together in our properties. We provide 24-hour support within these services.
In February 2020, the Care Inspectorate rated our housing support service 5 (very good).
Care at Home – Visualise offers supported living services, where we support people to remain independent in their own homes and be active in their communities. The individualised support is personally created, with the number of hours and kind of support based on individual requirements.
Our care at home services were most recently rated 5 (Very Good) by the Care Inspectorate.
Day Services – Visualise provides a day service which is individually tailored to meet the personal outcomes of each person who uses the service. Support services are provided from a base at Newhailes Business Park in Musselburgh. An integral part of the service is supporting people to take part in community-based activities.
Our day services were most recently rated 5 (Very Good) by the Care Inspectorate.